Arctic ocean awakening as ice melts

16:32, January 08, 2010      

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In this handout satellite composite image provided by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), satellite images of polar ice sheets taken in August 2001 (L) and August 2007 show the retreating ice in the Beaufort Sea during the summer in the Arctic Ocean. Photos from US satellites, declassified by the Obama White House administration, provide the first graphic images of how the polar ice sheets are retreating in the summer. This site is near the edge of the ice pack.[Photo: gb.cri.cn]

The Arctic Ocean's ice-capped depths have been quiet for millennia, thanks to winds being largely unable to ruffle the surface and stir things up.

The rapid loss of summer ice cover is changing all that, however, creating internal waves in the Arctic waters that could dramatically change life there -- and perhaps even accelerate the sea ice loss, according to the Discovery News.

"It's a very, very quiet ocean," said Luc Rainville of the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory, in Seattle.

He and his colleague Rebecca A. Woodgate have just published a study in the latest issue of Geophysical Research Letters reporting how Arctic waters along the continental shelves are getting more turbulent as the summer ice disappears and waves start churning the water like in other oceans.

Source: CCTV. com

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